Tiny Love Stories

I’ve been experimenting with some different kinds of writing and I ran across a New York Times feature called Tiny Love Stories.  The idea is to tell a tale about love but to do it in 100 words or less.  This intrigued me and I’ve submitted a few. 

My first attempt was a bit frustrating because I had exactly 100 words according to Microsoft Word but the website said I was over by 4 words.  I yelled at the screen, “No I’m not over!  It’s exactly 100 words!”

Once I got that out of my system, I played the game and removed words (some of which I really liked – no easy task for a writer) until it fit.  I can only assume they were either using the old 5 characters = 1 word as we did in typing class so long ago or simply testing my commitment.

Anyway, they ask for a story and a picture to go with it.  I haven’t heard back and I’m guessing I won’t but I had fun writing them and hope you enjoy reading.

Preschool Friends

It was the first day of preschool. Mothers waited as teachers led 3-year-olds in from the playground.  I was anxious to see my son and hear about his morning.  Suddenly there he was, holding hands with a tiny towheaded girl.   I quickly found a woman whose expression matched my own – puzzled yet bemused.  “Are you her mother?” I asked.  She nodded.  “You’re his mother?” she inquired, and it was my turn to nod.  This unlikely moment forged a friendship between two families that would last many years.  It’s amazing what two toddlers can accomplish in three hours. 

Henry and his dear friend Makenna in 1994


“EricMarkNeil.”  We held onto this utterance as Alzheimer’s stole my father-in-law from us.  Those are the names of his three sons but dementia had him saying it as one word.  To his family it gave the sense that he was still with us.  Soon, however, he said nothing at all and showed little expression.  One day my husband got the idea to bring a balloon.  To our surprise, Dad gamely hit the balloon back and even smiled a time or two.  As we gathered to say our goodbyes, he locked eyes with his loving eldest son and whispered, “EricMarkNeil.” 

Eric ready for some fun with Dad

PNW Pals

The reserved table sign read “Welcome Brother/Goodbye Sister Party”.  My extroverted daughter and introverted son got along fine growing up but were never close pals like my brother’s kids.  Then she moved to Seattle and made a million friends.  He stayed in Atlanta and became withdrawn.  The weekend he moved to the Pacific Northwest was just days before she left for a month away but she arranged a party so he could begin meeting people.  They get together often and he’s happier than he’s been in years.  Looks like they became close in their own good time.

Cheering on the Sounders together

3 Replies to “Tiny Love Stories”

  1. Great stories Cindy! The one that stands out to me the most is the story about Eric‘s dad when he had Alzheimer’s disease. My mother also died from complications from Alzheimer’s so I understand what those times are like. I love the way you captured his words and chose a photograph to create the image of him having fun with one of his sons.

  2. The first time I went to see Dad in the nursing home, I couldn’t even look at him without wanting to cry. He was so frail and sad; a shadow of his real self. Playing balloon volleyball with him got me out of that funk. I’d trash talk him (“arms up Dad…play that way and I’ll beat you all the time. Watch your left side”). Maybe 20% of the time I could see some enjoyment. The thing is, what about the other 80%

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